By Foibe Paavo
SWAKOPMUND, May 24 – The fourth Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit and Challenge (ASYTIS) taking place in July had its official launch at Swakopmund on Monday.
Namibia won the bid to host the event for a three-year period from 2022 until 2024 in collaboration with Africa Tourism Partners (ATP) and United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
The summit this year is taking place under the theme: ‘To develop youth and innovative entrepreneurship solutions for inclusive tourism recovery growth in Africa.’
Officially launching the event, Erongo governor Neville Andre said in the last decade, Africa had experienced an increase in international arrivals with an average annual growth rate of 5%, the same as the world’s rate, (5%), growing national economies and their contribution to their communities. In 2019, the continent received 71.9 million international arrivals and U$38.5 billion in international tourism receipts, which represents the 9% of the total exports of the region.
Namibia too, he said, had been experiencing ever-increasing tourist arrivals from 1992 to 2019 before the outbreak of Covid-19. Since then tourist arrivals declined by 89.4% in 2020 to a mere 169,565 compared to 1,595,973 tourists recorded in 2019.
“Therefore, the summit is anticipated to help re-positioning the country as a business and tourism destination by presenting an update post-Covid-19 tourism recovery strategy for 2022-2024,” he said.
“The travel and tourism sector has become a lifeline for many sectors, industries and people in the country and globally. It is therefore important that all of us combine effort in some way or another to support the sector, especially during its current recovery process,” he concluded.
The summit aims to support and guide Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) businesses in navigating post-Covid-19 challenges and opportunities with technology, financing and market access; provide career guidance for high school and university graduates interested in travel and tourism and encourage a robust innovation culture in tourism based on skills development for business growth.
“Over the past years, the tourism industry has become one of the most important engines of the economy and also for sustainable growth in many countries. Tourism development is no longer a choice or a luxury, it’s a necessity for development and diversification of multinational economies and job creation,” said deputy director of tourism development in the tourism ministry, Elise Hashikutuva, at the event.
The Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit and Challenge (AYTIS) is the “one and only” pan-African youth and start-up in tourism summit on the continent. – Namibia Daily News